I was pretty confident that we were going to bounce back, but I couldn’t have dreamed that we’d bounce back like this. Not that we’d have that much intensity and effort to play not just your best game of the year but your best game of the year by far.
Why the Friars won: Providence put the disaster from Saturday behind them, and played with great intensity on both ends of the court. Both teams did not shoot particularly well (especially UConn in the last 5 minutes), but Providence really dominated on the glass with 24 offensive rebounds (Greedy had 6, Dixon had 5), leading to 21 second chance points. Down the stretch the Friars played smart in not rushing things, and Sharaud Curry was able to close the game out with perfect foul shooting.
Turning Point: With 9 minutes left in the game, UCONN fought back from an early 2nd half deficit. They took a sudden 3 point lead on a Robinson jumper and seemed to have all the momentum. Keno called a timeout and the Friars really re-grouped. Bilal Dixon got a hoop on a feed from VC, Stanley Robinson missed a three, and then Council got an easy putback after Greedy got blocked. The Friars regained the lead, and didn’t look back.
Player of the Game: Vincent Council – Yeah Greedy Peterson had the sexy double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but I think VC was the key down the stretch when the Friars pulled away. He continually beat his man to the hoop and was able to make sweet sweet passes to the big men. Council ended up with 8 assists on the night.
Goat of the Game: Jerome Dyson – Shot 3-14 from the field and scored only 12 points. Also had 5 of the 19 Huskies turnovers.
So what are we going to see from the Friars after Saturday’s debacle? Well, I’ve heard that practices have been going really well (and two players everyone lashed out were “kicking arse” in the process), but your guess is as good as mine. It’s likely the same starters will see the court to start the game, but we will have to see how the new minutes are distributed. I expect to see a fired up team, and playing UConn in front of a good crowd will certainly help as well.
That being said, it wouldn’t be a proper Huskies preview without pulling out the infamous “Why We Hate UCONN” post from the Godfather. This post is about 9 years old, and is part of Friars internet lore — it’s simply legend-… wait for it… and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is DAIRY!
Everyone is worrying about PC’s defense, but their offense is going to need to bring it versus the Huskies as well. UConn has a fantastic adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 89.7, ranked #29 in the nation. They don’t force a lot of turnovers, but hold teams to an insanely low percentage on two point shots (40.2%, ranked #2 in the country). Teams have had better success from behind the arc against Connecticut (31.5%, #64), so the Friars better hope to shoot similar to how they did against USF.
Senior guard Jerome Dyson will take a majority of the shots for the Huskies. To put it in perspective, Dyson takes a third of UConn’s shots when he is on the court — that is slightly more than Greedy Peterson takes (31.0%) for the Friars!!! Let’s hope he avoids the side of the backboard .
6-9 Senior Stanley Robinson is their most efficient scorer and 2nd best rebounder. Offensively, he is putting up shooting numbers that Friar fans would like to see out of Greedy Peterson. Robinson, like Greedy, is also not afraid to take shots behind the arc. However, he seems to have better shot selection to go along with an impressive 44.7% (21-47).
Sophomore point guard Kemba Walker versus Vincent Council. This should be a real interesting matchup for the next several years. Walker is amongst the best PG in the conference, so we shall see how VC stacks up against him.I sense they will be fighting it out on All-Big East teams in 2011 and 2012!
The Friars will return to action on Wednesday, January 27 versus 19th-ranked Connecticut at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Friars have posted a 26-41 mark all-time versus the Huskies. The Friars are 12-16 at home, 11-22 on the road and 3-3 on neutral courts all-time against Connecticut. The two teams fi rst met on January 21, 1928 with Connecticut earning a 29-21 win in Storrs, Conn. Last season, UConn defeated the Friars, 94-61, in Storrs. PC’s last win over the Huskies was an 85-76 victory in Providence on March 6, 2008. The Friars are 6-4 in their last 10 games versus UConn, including a 4-1 mark on the road.
“The Providence game is proabably just as important as the Texas win because it would be our first Big East road win,” Gavin Edwards said. “That’s a pretty important task we have to do as a team. A lot of us haven’t experienced one yet, and I think that would be a really big steppingstone.”
Defending the Friars is more complex than that, Blaney said. While UConn (13-6, 3-3) has to be aware of three-pointers, Providence also spreads the floor with three or four guards, creates a lot of second chances on long rebounds when threes aren’t falling and has enough athletes to score on drives if an opponent is too focused on limiting jump shots.
“Practice went really good yesterday; we came back very intense,” Walker said. “Plus [Providence] will be a little lifted the way they lost their game. We know they’re gonna come out with a lot of intensity; they’re coming off a couple of losses so we’re gonna have to match that intensity.”
The Friars are having a rough year, even by Providence standards. Non-Conference losses to Alabama, Boston College, Rhode Island and Iona, had the PC faithful worrying about the Big East schedule, and so far, their worries have been warranted.
The talent discrepancy between the UConn men’s basketball team’s last opponent and the one it plays tonight may not exactly parallel the size of the state of Texas compared to Rhode Island. But it’s close.
The Friars (11-8) seemingly don’t have the same pedigree or potential as the Longhorns, but they certainly can present UConn with some problems. And each year Providence, regardless of its record, always seems to give UConn a challenge.
Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun remains on medical leave and will miss Wednesday’s Big East game at Providence.
Calhoun, who left the team a week ago, seems to be doing well and is “talking more aggressively” on the phone, said associate head coach George Blaney, who led the No. 19 Huskies (13-6, 3-3) to wins last week over St. John’s and then-No. 1 Texas.
UConn, though, has yet to head on the road without its coach, and the Huskies have not fared well outside of Connecticut. They are 0-3 in true road games and 1-2 at neutral sites, one season after going 9-1 on the road and 8-2 at neutral sites.
Having regained their swagger, the 19th- ranked Connecticut Huskies now take aim at the first true road win of the season against the Providence Friars tonight in a Big East tussle at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
We are used to seeing a lot of great highlights from Greedy, but check out this alley-oop by Stanley Robinson in the 2nd half of the Texas game. Wow.
The Michigan Wolverines got a big win at home, upsetting the UConn Huskies 68-63. Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg recap all the action.
The finish of the game as Lance Stephenson wins the game for UC over 10th ranked UConn 71-69.
UConn point guard Kemba Walker and the rest of the Huskies are stars on the court, but he tells us what the team is like off the court. ESPNU Campus Connection Reporter Marcus Lynam has more from Storrs.
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be on COX locally, and part of ESPN Full Court. It will also be on SNY for those in the NY/NJ area.
Friarblog.com: Before the season started, someone at the “Daily Campus” wrote “We should all set our sights on the Providence College Friars as our most hated rival”. Does anyone even remotely really think that?
TheUConnBlog: I actually know the guy who wrote that, so I hope if he’s reading this he doesn’t take this the wrong way, but: that is a batshit insane proposition. That would be like Yankee fans concentrating on the Milwaukee Brewers as their greatest rival, or Laker fans suddenly turning every game with the Charlotte Bobcats into a blood feud. (Some offense intended.)
Reading Mr. Vellturo’s piece over once more, I think what he’s trying to say is “Providence inexplicably beats us a lot in sports they have no business beating us in, which is really annoying and I hate that.” Because that’s the essence of the Providence-UConn rivalry. You’re our next-door neighbor in the Big East, and if we somehow fail to win our game every year, you’re going to pelt our mansion with eggs from your apartment window in celebration. And that’s just a hassle to clean up.
Friarblog.com: First you were amongst the BIG EAST elite, then unranked, now you are beating #1 teams. In your best Seinfeld voice “What’s the deaaaaal with UCONN”? Are you elite, fake, somewhere in the middle, or just playing well right now for JC?
TheUConnBlog: I don’t discount the idea that the Texas win could be a mirage, and they were just playing inspired for Jim. It’s possible.
On the other hand, UConn’s struggles have been mostly on the margin, and I think everything finally just bounced our way/clicked on Saturday. When that happens, I think the Huskies can beat anybody in the country.
If you look at UConn’s losses, you’ll see a whole lot of games they could have won. They were tied with Kentucky with a minute left in MSG, Cincinnati beat us on a pair of free throws with under a second left, Georgetown came back from a 20-point deficit because Austin Freeman went nutso in the second half, the Pitt game was a one-possession game with 1:30 left, Michigan beat us after Jerome Dyson missed basically the whole first half due to foul trouble.
I think UConn has proven that it can play with any team in the country – unfortunately, they can also play down to any team in the country – and should probably be ranked somewhere in the teens for the rest of the season.
Of course everything could suddenly go to shit, too *cough*losstonight*cough*. But I think they’re a step below those elite teams (Syracuse and Villanova in the BE), with the capability of knocking them off on a good day.
Friarblog.com: What were the key factors that contributed to UCONN’s poor stretch earlier in the month?
TheUConnBlog: To continue from above, while UConn has been able to play with everyone, that isn’t to say there aren’t actual struggles. UConn still looks pretty bad in the halfcourt offense and hasn’t been able to figure out a zone since about November 2006.
UConn isn’t a very good free throw shooting team, so they’re leaving bunches of points out there, which is tough to do and still win when you play nothing but close games.
Those are the major structural concerns. Each game had their own issues, as noted above, but I’d like to think things like Freeman scoring 30 and Dyson being in foul trouble are just bad anomalies that happened in back-to-back-to-back games.
The real concerns have to do with teams who can slow down UConn and make them run crisp offensive sets to score which is….not Calhoun’s strongest point.
Friarblog.com: After seeing what Dominique Jones did to the Friars defense at the Dunk, is Jerome Dyson drooling? He takes a large percentage of the team’s shots (even more than Greedy Peterson!). Obviously the team has other weapons, but does the team go as Jerome does?
TheUConnBlog: That’s a fair assessment, although I would add in “and Kemba Walker” after Jerome’s name. Dyson’s the guy we rely on to score from everywhere on the court, and he’s going to get his points in just about every game. If his shot is falling – and he’s not a great outside shooter usually – then we are tough to beat, as Texas found out.
But Walker is the one who will determine whether the offense is good or frustratingly, eye-pokingly bad. If he’s turning the ball over like crazy (usually by overpenetrating and getting trapped underneath the basket) or unable to push the tempo, they’ll bog down and get frustrated.
Kemba’s shown flashes of unbelievable play this year, but he’s still learning and adjusting to being a full-time starter. We’re all waiting for ‘it’ to click in Kemba’s mind, because once it does, we think we’re going to have the best point guard in America.
To put it another way: UConn needs Dyson to be tremendous to beat great teams. UConn needs Kemba to be tremendous to be a great team.
Friarblog.com: One of Providence’s biggest strengths surprisingly has been their offensive rebounding numbers. How do you think the Huskies matchup against PC there?
TheUConnBlog: I think that’s bad news bears for UConn. The Huskies have been pretty bad at letting other teams hit the offensive glass (they rank 217th in defensive OReb% according to KenPom), despite having one of the tallest teams in America.
I think that’s in large part because, on most interior shots, UConn’s bigs will sell out for the block, and if the shot gets to the hoop, the other team will have a numbers advantage on the ensuing rebound.
You can win if you crash the offensive boards against UConn, although if you don’t actually get the rebounds (which apparently hasn’t been much of a problem for opponents), then Gavin Edwards will dunk on you on a breakaway. Friarblog.com: Other than Thabeet’s blockfest last season, the Friars have inexplicably played well against the Huskies the last several years. Does that, plus the fact that Keno probably kicked everyone’s arse in practice the last few days give any worries of a PC upset?
TheUConnBlog: Yeah, other than last year’s immensely satisfying victory, Providence always seems to be a nightmare game for UConn, no matter what either team’s record is. I still don’t know how you got two of your six Big East wins against us in 2007-08. I have two theories:
1) UConn, especially since the current seniors arrived, is at its best when it’s in transition. Providence appears to be a team that makes a lot of shots, gets loads of offensive rebounds, and doesn’t turn the ball over. Thus, UConn can’t get out on the break often enough and their halfcourt offense has to keep up with both a frantic pace and an opponent that’s going to score often.
Thus, if Providence is hitting its shots, the situation kind of snowballs and UConn loses and we all get really angry. Or:
2) Keno Davis and Tim Welsh come from a long line of sorcerers who have put a hex on Jim Calhoun, which takes effect any time he enters Rhode Island, or they enter Connecticut.
Either way, yeah, I would just like to get this game over with and take a win any way UConn can get it.
This past Sunday, the Keno Davis Show aired its second episode on Providence’s local NBC station. Here are some clips from the NBC site turnto10.com.
Meet Ray Hall!!
Seeing Ray Hall admit his Star Wars love and seeing his painting of Yoda earns him about a million points in my book. Greatest Star Wars character of all time? Well, that is a debate for a different website.
If anybody thought I was throwing our team under the bus they’re wrong. I take responsibility for what happened at the end of the game. I said that repeatedly in the locker room. Maybe that got lost between the locker room and the radio show and the media room. I apologize if people are thinking I’m putting blame on the players.
I know some of you Friar fans have probably blocked out the last 10 seasons out of your head, but here is the inevitable comparison of Keno Davis and former coach Tim Welsh in terms of recruiting. Ah, Primetime.
Shockingly, in hindsight, one of the most credible recruiting sources at the time, Hoop Scoop, ranked this class the 8th best in the country.
The results were less than stellar on the court and even worse off of it. Failing to meet expectations, Wade and Murray did not contribute in year 1 and were gone after pummeling a classmate over a bar room (if you can call Prime Time a bar room) disagreement. Jefferson showed flashes, but transferred, Jarrell-Wright did the same and the four hold overs: Mills, Augustin, Shabazz and Rogers helped savage the class by all playing critical roles on the 2001 NCAA Tournament team.
I know some of you have also blocked out the events of Saturday night out. Well, the Providence Scout game article was free this time, so check it out if you are interested to see what you are missing out on by not being a subscriber.
There isn’t a whole lot of value in dissecting how Providence failed to execute and pull out the win. Had USF’s last second three not gone down giving the Friars the win, many would have said that the team would have learned more from a painful loss. The reason for that is the sorry state of Providence’s defense.
A tad more positive spin on his thoughts on the team than in the press conference after the game.
Although we will be underdogs in both games I am looking forward to seeing our team respond from a tough loss. There is no better opportunity to come together and motivate ourselves than when we face adversity. It is my belief that we will look back at the experiences from the beginning of this season, as a time that was necessary for us to have consistent success in the Big East for years to come
I hate to beat this to a pulp, but here is another article that didn’t make the game recap that talks about the loss
Davis has instilled into his players a sense that the only way to win is by outscoring foes. Hinging on such a philosophy may hold such merit in summer leagues, but trading baskets and hoping at the end of 40 minutes that you’re the team with the most points on the scoreboard doesn’t appear a winning recipe, especially when you reside in the rough-and-rumble Big East.
I’ve mentioned Ricky here a few times, but he is the best player in Rhode Island for the class of 2012, and high on Keno Davis’ recruiting list (most likely a long shot, but gotta go after the big boys!).
Check out this dunk uploaded by one of his buddies last week. This kid is a sophomore?!